Parshas Devarim

Gimmel Av 5766


Volume 2
Issue 42

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Morah Hirsch began the parshah class: "These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Am Yisrael on the east bank of the Yarden... an eleven day journey from Chorev."

"That means that instead of the forty years of journeys in the desert, the entire trip from Har Sinai to Eretz Yisrael could have taken only eleven days!" exclaimed Suri.

"That’s right," Morah Hirsch answered. “Do you know why it took them so long?”

"Yes," Suri answered. "After the avaira of the miraglim, Hashem said that He would not bring the Yidden into Eretz Yisrael until forty years passed. Still, forty years is a long time for an eleven day journey. That's a very severe punishment."

"You have to understand," Morah Hirsch said, "Hashem doesn't punish just to hurt. When Hashem punishes, He's trying to help the person who sinned and inspire him do teshuvah. That's why the Yidden wandered in the desert for so long. There is a Chassidic saying: 'It took Hashem one moment to take the Yidden out of Mitzrayim, and forty years to take Mitzrayim out of the Yidden.'

"All the time the Yidden were in the desert, they were busy working on their emunah and on their middos, preparing themselves to enter Eretz Yisrael - Eretz HaKodesh, our holy land. To live in such a holy place, you have to be holy yourself, and that requires work."

Parshas Devarim is always read on the Shabbos before Tishah BeAv. This Shabbos is also called Shabbos Chazon, because the haftorah that we read begins with the words "Chazon Yeshayahu." Chazon means to have a vision. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev explained that on this Shabbos we can all see a vision of the Beis Hamikdash in our mind's eye. Having this vision will encourage us to behave like the Yidden in the desert, and to work on ourselves and our environment, to make the world ready for Moshiach when we will all go to Eretz Yisrael.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX; Vol. XIX)
‘Please Tell Me What the Rebbe Said’



All 11 at once!

  ___  ___  ___  ___  ___      ___  ___  ___

Please send your answers to

Last weeks’ brain buster: I start with 4 and end with a sea

Because I’m the next one you see.

Answer: דברים

Congratulations to Zevi Sasonkin Age 9, from Patchogue NY
for solving the brain buster.

Hey there Young Shluchim!
How is your summer going? Mine has been quite busy! After Gimmel Tammuz it was time to get ready for Yud Beis and Yud Gimmel Tammuz and then before I had time to even hiccup it was Shiva Asar BeTammuz and the Three Weeks. And of course the Three Weeks are an especially busy time. First of all, like the Rebbe told us, I have an extra shiur in the halochos of the Beis Hamikdash. Then there is all the extra time that I spend dreaming and thinking about the Beis Hamikdash. And then there is all the time I spend on my nameless massive, mammoth, pool-size telescope. And in between all that, I still have to find time to do extra acts of extra goodness and kindness because I really want to make sure that these Three Weeks are the last Three Weeks that I ever have to keep. Because we know that when Moshiach comes the Three Weeks will become a time to celebrate.
Now, we all know that the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, so I decided that there is no better way to make Moshiach come than by pure, simple, undiluted, concentrated ahavas chinam. So in between working on all the other things that I’ve been busy doing I have been going out and doing nice things for people. I especially try to find people whom I wouldn't normally help and make a special effort to do nice things for them. Anyway, I thought maybe I would tell you about something I did last week so that maybe it will help you come up with some ideas of extra kind things to do too - although obviously you should always check out any ideas you have with your parents just in case.
So there I was walking down the road looking for nice things to do for people when I heard BANG! and then SCREEEEEEEEEECH! and SMASH!! A boy had been riding his bicycle on the sidewalk and his front tire had suddenly hit something and popped. The poor boy had tried to brake but he’d lost control of his bike and hit the wall. Now this boy wasn't exactly small. In fact he was taller than me and probably a lot older than my ainekel Shlomie and maybe even older than my son Mendy. Such a big boy shouldn’t have been riding a bike on the sidewalk. Obviously little kinderlach should not ride on the road, but this yingel was way too big to be riding on the sidewalk. And ever since I almost got run over by a runaway teenager on a skateboard about ten years ago I have always been a little jumpy when walking down the street. So my first thought was to go and tell this boy just where he should be riding his bike and just how dangerous it was to be riding on the sidewalk. But of course I never did that. At least not straight away. First I ran over to where the poor boy was lying on the floor groaning. Using all the skills that I had learnt in the special Professors and Inventors Course for CPR I quickly checked that the poor boy was not too seriously hurt - in fact he had nothing worse than a few bumps and bruises. Boruch Hashem he had been wearing a helmet - and I helped him to his feet and then together we carried his bike all the way home. While we were walking I learned that the boy’s name was Berel and that he rode his bike every day and he kept on getting flat tires. I kindly suggested to him that if he rode on the road instead of the sidewalk he might not get so many flat tires. I also promised to mail him my special puncture repair kit which had some extra special things in it such as a chitas (to help you make sure that you don't need the repair kit), sheva mitzvos bnei noach cards in case you meet a non-Jew when you are riding your bike, and mivtzoyim flyers in case you meet a not-yet-frum Jew and some ice packs in case you get bruises or bumps.
Of course, Berel wanted to do an act of kindness for me, so he invited me inside his house to have a drink. One thing led to another and we were talking for quite a while. I told him all about my different inventions and telescopes until it was getting quite late and it was time for me to rush off home to make sure that I didn't miss the lovely supper that Mrs Getzel had made for me.

Anyway, lots of luck doing your own extra acts of goodness and kindness!

Dr. Getzel

Yisroel Posner, age 10
Boston, Massachusetts

Hello, my name is Yisroel Posner!
I am on shlichos in Boston, Massachusetts. In Boston we speak English. The weather is warm. My Chabad House is quite big, it has six floors. We have a shul, offices, and apartments.
We do lots of programs like Matzah Bakery, and Shofar Factory. My favorite one is matzah bakery. I help by setting up the tables with rolling pins and forks.
I go to school at New England Hebrew Academy. We learn Chumash, Dikduk, etc; I like to read, write, and draw. A lot of the time when we’re on mivtzoim some non-Jewish people come up to us and ask us what we are doing even though they are not Jewish.


In this week’s פרשה , משה reminds the בני ישראל how they had fought fierce battles against the nations aroundארץ ישראל and how they had defeated them all.

One of the most dangerous enemies that the בני ישראל had faced had been the giant עוג . עוג was the only survivor left from the generation of the מבול in the times of נח . We are told that he was so big that he did not fit into the תיבה that נח built and instead he just held on outside. משה was scared to attack עוג because he was sure that the giant had some special זכות for which ה‘ had allowed him to stay alive for so long – עוג was over 500 years old!

ה‘ told משה not to worry and that just like he had defeated everyone else he had fought against, so too he would defeat עוג . When עוג saw the בני ישראל approaching he picked up a huge mountain and raised it over his head. He was about to throw the mountain down and crush the entire camp when ה‘ caused an army of ants to infest the mountain and make it crumble in עוג ’s hands. The mountain fell onto עוג ’s head and shoulders and trapped his upper body so that he could not move. משה then hit עוג in the ankle with an axe and the massive giant fell to the ground and died.


תשעה באב

On תשעה באב we:

  • Don’t wear leather shoes.
  • Sit on low chairs until חצות .
  • Go to Shul to hear איכה being read.
  • Wash our hands only until the knuckles.
  • Don’t say the ברכה of שעשה לי כל צרכי           .
  • Add נחם in the ברכה of בונה ירושלים   in שמונה עשרה of מנחה .
  • Boys - Make the ברכה on  our ציצית only at מנחה .

Why was the בית המקדש destroyed? The גמרא gives many reasons for the destruction of the בית המקדש . One of these reasons involves אידישע children. The בית המקדש was destroyed, says the גמרא , because אידישע children were stopped from learning תורה in ירושלים .

From this we see how important it is for אידישע children to learn תורה (and do מצוות , since learning is great only when it leads to מצוות ). The good of the children, their parents, their whole community and of all the אידן , depends on the children’s תורה and מצוות . What is more, the rebuilding of the בית המקדש and the coming of the גאולה שלימה also depends on their תורה and מצוות .

Every אידישע child, boy or girl, should have a סידור of his or her own. For not only does the סידור contain the תפילות , it also contains some portions of תורה . In addition, every child should also have his own צדקה pushka.

In this way, the children will do the two most important things—learning תורה from the פסוקים in their סידורים , and giving צדקה , one of the most important מצוות . They will also encourage their friends to join them in learning תורה and doing מצוות with חיות and joy.

The תורה and צדקה of אידישע children will take away the cause of the גלות . For we know that the אידן will be redeemed through תורה and צדקה .

In this way, the children will quickly bring an end to the גלות and we will go out from the fasting of תשעה באב straight into the days of נחמה when ה‘ will comfort us and all the אידן .

‘The Rebbe Speaks to Children’


During the first years that I lived in Sydney, Australia, related Rabbi Chaim Gutnick ע“ה , I was contacted by the Jewish community in Adelaide. The ימים נוראים were coming closer, and their shul had no Rabbi. The Chief Rabbi of Sydney had sent them to me, but I was not happy about leaving my wife and four young children alone for the ימים טובים .

The Shul committee asked the Chief Rabbi what to do. “Listen," he told them, "Rabbi Gutnick is a Lubavitcher. Write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe that you need a Rabbi for the ימים נוראים . If the Rebbe tells Rabbi Gutnick to go, he will."

I soon received a special delivery letter from the Rebbe, expressing surprise that I did not agree, and advising me to spend the ימים נוראים in Adelaide. At the bottom of the letter, the Rebbe added, 'While in Adelaide, concern yourself with the needs of Egyptian Jews living there.'

I arrived in Adelaide the day before ראש השנה and went to the shul. As I was looking around, a woman entered and asked me, 'Where is the most holy part of the synagogue?' I was surprised by her question. I pointed to the ארון הקודש .

Before I could say another word, she rushed out, led a blind teenage girl straight to the ארון הקודש , and then left. The girl kissed the curtains of the ארון and burst out in tears. She remained there for several minutes; after which the woman came back and escorted her out.

I described the entire puzzling scene to the shul secretary. ‘Don't give it another thought,' the secretary said. ‘She's one of the Egyptians. They don't get along with our community. Her parents don't even come to shul on ראש השנה , so she probably decided to visit before the יום טוב .'

I tried to ignore what the secretary said. All I could think of was the Rebbe's words 'concern yourself with the Egyptian Jews.' I rushed out to find the girl, but she had disappeared.

On ראש השנה , I felt the unfriendliness between the local community and the Egyptian Jews. I tried to talk to some Egyptian Jews, and asked about the blind girl.

After the יום טוב , she tried to contact me. The phone in my room rang. 'Hello, I'm Betty, the blind girl.' But a sudden click meant that someone didn’t want her to talk to me.

On the night before יום כיפור , I was finally able to get her address and phone number. My calls were unsuccessful, for as soon as I said my name, the line went dead. I would not give up. Despite the late hour, I took a taxi to her home. Her family was reluctant to allow me in. 'Please,' I said, 'I have traveled a great distance, and I would like to speak with you.'

The door opened, and I was invited to enter. Slowly, they began talking to me. After a while, the rest of the family left, and I gently asked Betty to tell me what was troubling her. In an emotional tone, she told her story:

“‘My family arrived in Australia last year. They sent me to the only school in this city for the blind, a Catholic school. The people in the school are very nice, and my parents were pleased, because I had been given a full scholarship. After five months, the local priest began talking to me about Christianity. I ignored him until he told me bluntly that I must convert. At the same time, my parents received a letter from the school: Due to lack of space in our school, we are forced to turn away even students of our own faith. We will agree to provide free schooling for your daughter only if she converts to Christianity.

“‘One day, I overheard my nervous parents discuss the issue. They were prepared to accept that I would have to convert.’

“‘Although I know very little about our religion, I know that I am Jewish. I know that there is a G-d and I decided to pray to Him for help. I also knew that the Jewish holy days were approaching. On the day before ראש השנה , I told my mother that I did not feel well and could not go to school. When I was alone in the house, I knocked on the door of my non-Jewish neighbor.

“‘Tomorrow is the Jewish New Year,' I told her. ‘My parents do not attend the synagogue so I would like to ask you a favor. Please take me to the synagogue today so I can pray. I will only stay for a few minutes.' My neighbor agreed. In the synagogue, I cried and prayed to G-d to give me a sign. I returned home and waited.

“‘Guests joined us for the יום טוב dinner. One of them laughed at me: 'Betty! What have you been up to lately? A Rabbi from Sydney came to Adelaide and he is asking about you. How do you know him?'

I knew this was a sign from G-d to me. I tried to call you, but my mother didn't allow it. She was afraid that you would convince me not to convert and that I would have to leave school. But somehow, I knew that you would help me.'

The girl's parents then came in and tearfully and told me, 'We really don't want her to convert, but we have no choice. We are concerned about her welfare.' I promised to do my best to help them.

The Rebbe's words echoed in my ears as I thought about what to do. I phoned the secretary of the Jewish community, told him the story, and asked him to come immediately.

He was obviously shocked by my request. ”Have you gone mad?" he gasped. "It's half past midnight!"

"If you want a Rabbi for יום כיפור , come here now," I told him. "Come in your pajamas if you must, but come."

He arrived in twenty minutes. I told him that the community must accept the responsibility to pay the girl's tuition so that she would not be forced to convert. He agreed.

The girl continued writing to me over the years. She graduated high school with honors, went on to study in ירושלים , married, and now leads a good frum life in ארץ ישראל ."

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